Goodbye To Fear
After a very busy day feeding the 5,000, the disciples got into a boat for the journey across Lake Galilee to Capernaum. Jesus had told them to go on ahead of Him, while He climbed further up the mountain to pray. The boat was only half-way to their destination when it got dark; the wind was so strong that they took down the sail and rowed in the increasingly rough water. Rowing the heavy boat in such conditions for several miles was very hard work, and they were getting exhausted (Mark 6:45-52).
An hour or so before dawn Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:25). They had never seen anything like this before and assumed it was some evil spiritual manifestation. They were terrified. But as Jesus got close to them He spoke, commanding them not to be afraid. When they recognised Him and were willing to take Him into their boat, the storm stopped, the clouds lifted, and they arrived safely with Jesus.
What was Jesus teaching the disciples? Even though a number of them had been fishermen, used to handling boats in rough weather, they could never stop the storm: but Jesus did. Even though Jesus was not with them, He knew exactly where they were and had the power to come to them. Even though they were afraid, they obeyed the command from Jesus to stop being fearful - because He had arrived to take charge. There was no need for them to be afraid of Him once they recognised Him and there was no need for them to be afraid of the storm. As with the miracle of feeding the 5,000, Jesus was in command of nature because He is its Creator and Sustainer (Hebrews 1:1-3). He was inviting them to believe in Him.
We need to learn the same lessons because Jesus never changes (Hebrews 13:8). He is the Creator (John 1:1-3) – the One who never grows tired and is able to strengthen the powerless (Isaiah 40:28-31). Wherever we think we are competent, Jesus has the ultimate solution; when we are weary, Jesus brings rest; when we are afraid, Jesus commands us to reject our fear and welcome Him into the middle of the problem so that He can take charge. Most importantly, the Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can save us from being dragged down by the guilt of our sin – because through His death He has been punished instead of us and can freely forgive all who confess their failings and are willing to believe in Him and welcome Him.
© Dr Paul Adams